There’s a Womens This QUEEN Was Born On May 5 Queens Happy Birthday T Shirt of tradition of going out for Chinese food on or around Christmas in the US. So far as I can tell, this largely originates from large cities and in particular from Jews living in New York. Consider the cultural landscape of the earlier part of the 20th century. Jews, of course, do not celebrate Christmas, so they’d be more likely than the Christian majority to go out to eat then, as opposed to their celebrating neighbors who are likely at home with family, roasting their own turkeys and such. And where do they go on Christmas? Well, most restaurants are going to be closed, because their predominantly Christian proprietors and employees are also at home. The major exception, then, was Chinese restaurants. The immigrants running those places were less likely than average to be Christian, so they had no cultural tradition of shutting down on or around December 25. So if you’re a Jewish New Yorker who wants to go out for dinner on Christmas, it’s Chinese food or nothing. This practice may have been popularized in particular by Calvin Trillin, the noted food columnist for the New York Times. He was himself Jewish and wrote a marvelous column about his wife wanting a “traditional holiday dinner.” What she was talking about was the idea, coming in from outside their cultural world, of turkey, mashed potatoes, and so on, but to Trillin, his traditional holiday dinner was going out for Chinese.
The English term Christmas (Old English, Cristes maesse) is actually of Womens This QUEEN Was Born On May 5 Queens Happy Birthday T Shirt recent origin: the feast day only began to be widely celebrated with a specific liturgy (the Cristes maesse) in the 9th century. The earlier term Yule, from the Germanic jōl or the Anglo-Saxon geōl, referred to the feast of the winter solstice, and made no mention of Christian church liturgy or practices. On Christmas Day, the Church traditionally celebrated three Masses. The first of these took place at midnight and celebrated of the actual birth of Christ. None of the contemporary Christmas customs have their origin in these liturgical affirmation (or masses), and most are of a much more recent date. The exchange of gifts originally took place in the early hours of the 25th when people returned home from the first, midnight mass. When it became customary to open gifts later in the day, the times of many church services were altered – another example of how far from the idea of the liturgical ‘Cristes maesse’ the holiday has come.
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The Womens This QUEEN Was Born On May 5 Queens Happy Birthday T Shirt mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday comes from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs. The first date listed, December 25, is marked: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae: “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.” In about 400 C.E., Augustine of Hippo mentions a local dissident Christian group, the Donatists, who apparently kept Christmas festivals on December 25, but refused to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6, regarding it as an innovation. Since the Donatist group only emerged during the persecution under Diocletian in 312 C.E. and then remained stubbornly attached to the practices of that moment in time, they seem to represent an older North African Christian tradition. In the East, January 6 was at first not associated with the magi alone, but with the Christmas story as a whole.
The first thing you need to understand is the background of the word “jolly.” It has reached the Womens This QUEEN Was Born On May 5 Queens Happy Birthday T Shirt now of being purely a noun, meaning a paid-for day out, commonly in your employer’s time. But a jolly? Strange word. Back in the relatively innocent days of the mid-twentieth century, jolly was a round-cheeked, smiling, uncomplicated word. It went with fat, beaming, seaside-postcard ladies, having a cheerful time on the beach or at the funfair, or Enid Blyton schoolgirls having a midnight swim down at the beach, or a midnight feast up on the roof of the jolly old school. It was all very jolly, with never any repercussions, and it was all jolly good. Before that, the word seems to have come from two possible directions, and quite possibly both of them. It may be from the French joli, meaning merrry or joyful, or from the Norse word jól, from which we get Yule, as an old word for Christmas festivities. Put them together and the result is a jolly good word for everyone having a good time. It’s a pity it’s been corrupted into having overtones of something slightly dishonest!
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